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Akallabeth in August
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But when Inziladûn acceded to the sceptre, he took again a title in the Elven-tongue as of old, calling himself Tar-Palantir, for he was far-sighted both in eye and in mind, and even those that hated him feared his words as those of a true-seer.

To Stand Fast Against the Night by Fiondil

A Note on Names: Tar-Palantir was known as Inziladûn before he ascended to the throne. For purposes of this story, his nephew, who would take the throne-name Ar-Pharazôn ‘The Golden’, is here given the birth-name Gimilkhôr ‘Flame Lord’ (cf. his grandfather’s name, Ar-Gimilzôr ‘Silver Flame’). Ar-Pharazôn’s father’s name, Gimilkhâd, is attested. I have given Tar-Palantír’s wife’s name as Belzimra ‘Jewels of Light’ (cf. Ar-Belzagar ‘Sword of Light’). Númendil, Lord of Andúnië at this time, his son, Amandil, and Amandil’s son, Elendil, are addressed by their Adûnaic names: Númendil (Adûnazîr), Amandil (Aphanuzîr), Elendil (Nimruzîr). Aphanuzîr and Nimruzîr are attested. Adûnazîr is constructed based on what is known of the language [See ‘The Notion Club Papers’, Sauron Defeated, HoME IX].

A Note on Language Use: Generally, everyone in the story is speaking Adûnaic, however, when alone with either his mother, wife or daughter, Tar-Palantir will speak Sindarin. This is also the case when speaking to his cousin Númendil and the other Faithful, so long as others are not present, and then they will switch to Adûnaic, since it is still forbidden for the Elvish languages to be spoken in public.

A Note on Ages: Inziladûn (Tar-Palantir) is 140 and his brother, Gimilkhâd, is 131. Amandil is 150. Míriel, Gimilkhôr (Ar-Pharazôn), and Elendil are within one year of each other, with Míriel being the oldest at age 58 and Elendil the youngest at age 56.

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Armenelos, Second Age 3175:

“If father had had his way, my brother,” Gimilkhâd said with a scowl as he lounged in a chair, sipping some wine, “I would be the one holding the Sceptre, not you.”

Inziladûn gave his brother a slight frown as he stood statue-still to allow his body servants to dress him in the regalia that now was his. “Father always favored you over me, though I was his heir.”

“You were always mooning about the Elves and the good old days when they came to these shores,” Gimilkhâd said dismissively, “and going to Andúnië to climb our ancestor’s tower. What did you hope to see, standing on the parapet, looking to the West?”

“Sails,” Inziladûn said with a heavy sigh. “Sails out of Tol Eressëa.”

“Bah! The Elves have not been seen much in these lands for over two centuries now and never since Father issued his Decree,” Gimilkhâd replied. “Good riddance. They were ever a nuisance.”

Inziladûn couldn’t help smiling. “Odd for you to say something like that, you who have never set eyes on any of the Firstborn. How can you know if they were a nuisance or not?”

“Simply by the fact that Father issued his Decree forbidding them from ever darkening our shores,” his brother answered with a smirk.

“That was ill done, I deem,” Inziladûn said with a shake of his head, thereby distressing the servant who had been about to place the gold circlet upon his head. Inziladûn gave the man an apologetic smile and the servant sighed, putting down the circlet to reach for a comb.

Gimilkhâd shrugged. “It was well done, I say,” he declared, “for they were ever reminding us of our fate as Mortals and harping on the Ban of the Avalôi.”

“That Ban is there for a good reason,” Inziladûn said, dismissing his servants with a soft word of thanks and a smile now that he was dressed. They bowed low to him and exited the sitting room where the two brothers were speaking. Inziladûn went to a sideboard and poured himself some wine. “We are indeed Mortals and Amatthâni does not belong to us.”

Gimilkhâd’s scowl deepened. “Perhaps,” he muttered, taking a swig of his wine.

Inziladûn pretended not to hear him. Instead, he went over to gaze out the window that looked upon the Court of the White Tree and contemplated the view. “We’ve fallen away from our first glory,” he said, taking a sip of wine. “We’ve neglected the old ways. Father, I think, was the worst, refusing even to pay lip-service to the Avalôi and never going to the Hallow of Êru. Even the White Tree has been neglected in the years of Father’s reign. I would fain see it honored again as it once was.”

“It’s just a tree, brother,” Gimilkhâd sneered. “Just because the Elves are tree-lovers....”

Inziladûn turned around to face his brother, his eyes dark with something that Gimilkhâd could put no name to and therefore feared. “I tell you truly, my brother, that our fates are bound to the fate of Nimloth. Should ever the White Tree fail, then shall the Line of Kings also perish.”

“Rubbish,” Gimilkhâd retorted, though his tone was tinged with doubt. “It’s just a tree.”

Before Inziladûn could reply, there was a knock on the door. “Enter,” he commanded and the door opened to reveal his nephew Gimilkhôr standing there in his formal attire. The lad gave his uncle a perfunctory bow and frowned in disapproval at his father. “Attô, you’re not even dressed.”

Gimilkhâd gave his son a sardonic look. “Unlike your uncle,” he said, rising from his chair and draining his goblet before placing it on a nearby table, “it will not take me as long to dress in my own robes of state as it has taken him.” Inziladûn snorted good-naturedly.

Even as Gimilkhâd and Gimilkhôr began to leave, three others joined them. “Ah, I see the ladies have come to see how you fare, brother,” Gimilkhâd said. “I will leave you to their tender mercies, then. Ammê, Belzimra, Míriel,” he addressed them, giving them a bow and the three women gave him their own curtsies.

Gimilkhôr gave his own bow to his grandmother, aunt and cousin, his gaze lingering on Míriel’s fair form a little longer than propriety dictated, causing her to blush in confusion. He gave her a leering smile as he followed his father out of the room.

Inziladûn frowned at his nephew’s retreating form, his eyes dark with foreboding, but then he dismissed the young man from his mind, smiling at his wife and daughter and holding out his arms to welcome them. “And how are my two Jewels this day?” he asked as they went into his embrace, planting a kiss on each of their brows.

Míriel giggled and his wife smiled fondly at him. “We are well, mell nîn,” she said. “We are more concerned for you. How do you fare?”

Inziladûn shrugged. “Well enough,” he replied, releasing them to go to his mother and give her a kiss in greeting, which she returned, lovingly brushing a hand against his cheek. “I will be glad when this ceremony is over with and I can divest myself of all this regalia. It is very wearying on the body.”

“You look very regal, Ada,” Míriel said with a smile.

“And you and Nana and Daernana are most beautiful,” he replied, giving her another brief kiss on her brow.

“Do you still mean to follow through on your plans?” Inzilbeth asked, giving her firstborn son a look of motherly concern.

Inziladûn nodded. “Yes, I do.”

“They will not love you for it,” his wife said, “nor will they understand the need.”

“Yet, what else can I do?” Inziladûn pleaded. “I fear that if we do not do something now it will be too late for us.”

“It may already be too late, Ada,” Míriel said soberly.

Inziladûn gave her a considering look, one tinged with sadness. “Do you think I should forget this, then? Should I accept the inevitable and allow our people to diminish themselves even more?”

“No, Ada,” Míriel said, giving him a kiss on the cheek. “I only warn you not to expect too much. Only the Faithful will love you for what you would do.”

Inziladûn nodded. “No doubt,” he averred, “and yet, if only some of our people return to the old ways, reverencing the Belain and Eru, then I will consider it a victory.”

“You have not told your brother what you would do?” Belzimra asked.

“No, love, I have not,” Inziladûn answered, giving her a sardonic smile. “Let him be as surprised as everyone else.”

Whatever comment Belzimra might have made was lost to a knock on the door. Inziladûn sighed. “Enter,” he called out and when the door opened it was to find that his Chamberlain was there.

“Forgive the intrusion, Sire,” the man said with a bow.

“What is it Ulbar?”

“Bârî Adûnazîr, Aphanuzîr, and Nimruzîr crave an audience with you,” the Chamberlain answered, his expression neutral though his tone was somewhat disapproving. “I told them that you were too busy....”

“Nonsense, Ulbar,” Inziladûn said firmly. “I am never too busy for my cousins. Bid them to enter.”

Ulbar bowed and showed the Lord of Andúnië and his son and grandson in. The three lords gave the royal family their obeisance. “Linakhahê, bârî ’n ni, ka...” Inziladûn began to say formally as Ulbar closed the door and then switched effortlessly into Sindarin once they were alone, “mae govannen, gwenyr.” He went to them and gave them a warm greeting, giving each a kiss as among kinsmen, which they returned. “I am glad you were able to come, Númendil, you and your family.” he added fervently.

The Lord of Andúnië smiled. “Should I not be here to see my beloved cousin take the Sceptre of Elros Minyatur, you who are perhaps the last hope of the Faithful?”

Inziladûn sighed. “You speak truer than you know, Cousin,” he said, “for I fear that if the tide does not turn, we will all drown in darkness.”

Númendil gave him a measuring look. “Is this your foresight speaking, or only your fear.”

Inziladûn shrugged. “Perhaps a little of both, I am not sure.”

“We can only trust in the Belain that all will be well with us,” Amandil said. “The Faithful are behind you, Sire, of that you should have no doubt.”

Inziladûn smiled. “Nor do I, but I thank you for your words of encouragement nonetheless, Amandil.” Then he turned to Elendil, who towered above them all. “Perhaps, child, you would be kind enough to escort Míriel to her place in the procession,” he said. “Let Ulbar know that we will be there soon.”

Elendil gave him a bow. “It would be my pleasure, aran nîn,” he said, then held out his hand for Míriel to take, which she did, though first she gave her father a kiss.

"I love you, Ada,” she whispered.

“As I love you, child,” he answered, kissing her as well.

The two cousins left and for a moment silence stretched between those who remained. Finally, Inzilbeth went to her son and gave him a fond kiss. “I am proud of you, my son.” She then motioned to Númendil, who offered her his elbow and then they, too, left, with Amandil trailing behind, leaving Inziladûn alone with his wife.

He took her hand and smiled gently at her. “Well, Calamirë,” he said, using the Quenya form of her name, something he only did when they were truly alone, “here we are at last.”

She smiled, the smile she reserved just for him. “You will make a fine king,” she said.

He nodded, though he was not so sure as she. “Shall we?” he asked, holding out his elbow, which she took and then they exited the room to join the procession that would make its way to the front portico of the palace where every king since the days of Elros Minyatur had received the Sceptre of Númenor in the presence of the people.

The ceremony was interminable under the late autumnal skies. Inziladûn was grateful for the heavy robes of state that he was forced to wear, for the day was cold and cloudy and in the wind that blew there was a hint of a coming frost, here at the doorstep of winter. Everyone was huddled in warm cloaks. Finally, though, came the part of the ceremony he had been anticipating and dreading, when the Sceptre would be placed in his hands and he would declare to the people his throne-name, and then he would speak to them for the first time as their king.

He stood and waited as they brought a finely wrought coffer in which had been placed the Sceptre after Ar-Gimilzôr’s funeral. Lord Imâr, the Master of Ceremonies, opened the lid and brought it forth, bowing low to Inziladûn and handing it to him. Even as he was taking it in his hands, Lord Imâr straightened and addressed him. “By what name wouldst thou be known, Sire, from this day hence?”

“Tar-Palantir,” he said firmly and loudly so all would hear. He hid a smile at the stir of commotion among the spectators and even among the nobles ranged around the dais on which he stood. Stealing a glance at where Númendil and his family stood he saw the Lord of Andúnië smile knowingly and then wink. Inziladûn was hard pressed not to start laughing.

Lord Imâr’s only reaction was a slight lifting of an eyebrow as he kept his own expression neutral. With another bow to Inziladûn he turned to the crowd to speak. “Let it be known that he who was born Inziladûn shall henceforth be known as Ar-Êphal—”

“Nay,” Inziladûn said forcefully, startling Imâr, who turned to him with an expression of confusion. “I wish not to render my throne-name into Adûnaic. I will be known only as Tar-Palantir.”

Now Imâr looked nonplused and he was not the only one. Inziladûn noticed out of the corner of his eye his brother scowling at him, while Gimilkhôr gave him a wary look. Inziladûn nodded at the Master of Ceremonies. “Continue, good my lord,” he commanded.

Imâr nodded and cleared his throat. “Let it be known that he who is Ar-Inziladûn will be known henceforth as Tar-Palantir.”

Inziladûn resisted a sigh, knowing it was too late to change the man’s words. He could not truly fault him, for it had been too long since any king had gone by their Quenya names; they had all been expecting him to give them his name in Adûnaic. Only the loremasters bothered with the Quenya version of a king’s throne-name for their records.

Then, it was time to step forward and address the people. He stole a glance at Belzimra and Míriel standing to one side, his mother between them. All three women smiled encouragingly at him and Míriel went so far as to blow him a kiss, making him smile in turn. Then he turned to the expectant crowd.

“Today,” he declared, “is a momentous day for us all. My father, the late king, left us with a legacy of neglect, neglect for the old ways when we revered the Avaloi and Êru and welcomed the Nimîr to our shores. Since the Decree of Forbiddance, which has barred the Nimîr from our land, our lives have become poorer and less bright. I hereby rescind the Decree and I hope that somehow word will reach those of Tol Eressëa that they are welcome once again to Yôzâyan. Along with the Decree I also rescind the prohibition against speaking the Eldarin tongues or teaching them to our children.”

There was a stir among the listeners and Inziladûn raised his hand and waited for silence, which was slow in coming. “I will also go to the Hallow of Êru tomorrow as was once the custom and offer prayers to the Creator as is mete for the health and well-being of our people and our land. Let us repent of our insolence and intransigence and return to the ways of our forefathers, remembering our first king, Elros Tar-Minyatur, and how he reverenced the Lords of the West and welcomed the Firstborn who were ever our friends and helpers. Let us repent, my people, ere it is too late and our fair land falls under shadow and a night without end.”

There was a scattering of applause from where those from Andúnië were standing, but against the sea of stony silence that greeted his speech otherwise, it sounded paltry and pathetic. Inziladûn looked to Númendil and gave his cousin a wistful look. Númendil returned it with a slight nod of his head, giving him his approval. Then Gimilkhâd broke all protocol to come to his brother’s side, his expression blank with fury.

“Are you mad, brother?” he hissed. “Why are you doing this?”

Inziladûn gave him a steady look. “Ni du-abrazâ nûluvada,” he said softly.

Gimilkhâd stared at him for a second in disbelief. “Ki-na nûph!” he exclaimed softly before returning to his place.

Inziladûn closed his eyes, already feeling defeated. Yet, he could not have done other than he did. He opened his eyes again and stared at his people, now coming out of their shock to begin murmuring their dismay and confusion at his words. He could almost hear them as they whispered to one another — ‘Nûph an Avalôi’ they were calling him, he had no doubt. So be it. Perhaps he was a fool. It did not matter. He had spoken and his words would define the tenor of his reign for good or ill. Perhaps in time his people would see the wisdom of his course and follow him. Perhaps....

He sighed and when Belzimra and Míriel came to stand beside him he gave them a rueful look. They were his two precious Jewels for whom he lived and, in the end, only their opinion of him mattered. Míriel, standing on his right as his heir, gave him a loving smile. “You were splendid, Attô,” she said, reaching up and kissing him on the cheek.

Belzimra, who was on his left, nodded. “I am very proud of you, zirân,” she said softly and there was something in her eyes that promised a different kind of affirmation from her when they were at last alone.

“Thank you,” he whispered, bending down to give both wife and daughter a kiss. “Thank you, both of you. You make this all worth while.”

Lord Imâr, meanwhile, came to him, his expression one of distress. “Is that all, Sire? Will you not speak further to the populace?”

“No, Imâr,” Inziladûn said with a shake of his head. “I have said all I wish to say at this time. Let us adjourn to the coronation feast, for see you, the day wanes and we have been standing in this cold wind long enough.”

The Master of Ceremonies bowed and then turned to address the spectators, speaking the ancient words. “The reign of Tar-Palantir begins. Let all rejoice. Long live the king!”

“Long live the king,” the people dutifully echoed, but even as he turned to lead the procession of nobles back into the palace, Inziladûn could sense that there was no warmth in their acclamation. He felt Belzimra give him a squeeze on his arm and he looked at her.

“I love you,” she whispered, giving him the smile that she reserved just for him.

He smiled back. It was enough.

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Words are Adûnaic unless otherwise noted.

Avalôi: The Valar.

Amatthâni: The Land of Aman.

Êru: The Adûnaic form of the Sindarin Eru.

Attô: Father

Ammê: Mother.

Mell nîn: (Sindarin) My beloved.

Ada: (Sindarin) Hypocoristic form of Adar: Father.

Nana: (Sindarin) Hypocoristic form of Naneth: Mother.

Daernana: (Sindarin) Hypocoristic form of Daernaneth: Grandmother.

Belain: (Sindarin) The Valar.

Bârî: Plural of Bâr: Lord.

Linakhahê, bârî ’n ni, ka...: ‘Approach, my lords, and....’.

Mae govannen, gwenyr: (Sindarin) ‘Well met, kinsmen’.

Nimîr: Eldar.

Yôzâyan: Númenor, literally “Land of Gift’.

Ni du-abrazâ nûluvada: ‘I would stand fast against the night’. There are a couple of words for ‘night’ in Adûnaic. In this case, nûlu has evil connotations.

Ki-na nûph!: ‘You are a fool!’

Nûph an Avalôi: The Valar’s Fool.

Zirân: Beloved.

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